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Wreck of ancient merchant ship looted off French coast

The wreck of an ancient 2,200-year-old merchant ship resting on the seabed off the coast of France has been looted and damaged. A particularly rare wreck of an ancient 2,200-year-old merchant ship has fallen prey to looters, French media report. The ancient merchant vessel was carrying amphorae of wine when it sank off the coast
Published: May 5, 2022 - 19:29
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 00:40
Wreck of ancient merchant ship looted off French coast

The wreck of an ancient 2,200-year-old merchant ship resting on the seabed off the coast of France has been looted and damaged.

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A particularly rare wreck of an ancient 2,200-year-old merchant ship has fallen prey to looters, French media report. The ancient merchant vessel was carrying amphorae of wine when it sank off the coast of Cannes on the French Riviera. Following the discovery of the wreck in 2017, the site was given the name Fort Royal 1 and archaeologists have determined that the ship dated back to the 2nd century BC.

Ancient merchant ship wreck looted

Unfortunately, it has now been reported that the wreck of an ancient ship has recently been damaged and looted. This is all the more sad because the wreck had lain quietly at the bottom of the Mediterranean for over 2 000 years. It was only after it was discovered and examined by archaeologists that looters turned up at the site.

Underwater archaeologists who have been excavating the Fort Royal 1 site have reported that some objects have disappeared. Specifically, clay amphorae for transporting wine, which looters took from the wreck.

Well-preserved wrecks from this period are particularly rare. Therefore, the opportunity to examine the wooden hull and cargo carried by an ancient merchant ship was absolutely unique. said representatives of the marine archaeology department of the French Ministry of Culture and the local police in a joint statement.

According to the information available, the loss of scientific and historical information resulting from the destruction is significant. We also know that the theft is relatively recent and the police investigation is ongoing.

Discovery of the wreck in 2017.

The wreck of an ancient merchant ship was discovered in 2017 by renowned French marine archaeologists Anne and Jean-Pierre Joncheray. The couple had spent decades leading the search in the Mediterranean waters. Jean-Pierre Joncheray died in 2020 at the age of 79.

Photo courtesy of the French Ministry of Culture, P. Soubias CCJ/CNRS


Without a doubt, Sweden is famous for its magnificent wrecks that rest at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. One of them is the magnificent Bodekull warship wreck from the 17th century, which we visited in 2021. You will read more about it in issue 19 the DIVERS24 quarterly magazine! The digital version of the magazine is available free of charge, while you can purchase the printed version in our online shop.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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